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Need advice on buying used speakers

post #1 of 9
Thread Starter 
Hello,

I am relatively new to AV and stereos. Many years ago, I owned a Luxman R-115 and now rue the day that I sold it when I "moved up" to a Bose system. The Bose is long gone and I have now begun to rebuild my stereo system and started by purchasing a Marantz SR 19EX receiver on eBay.

I am more interested in music than Home Theater and need to buy speakers. I listen to jazz, bossa nova, samba, various other world music, classical, hip hop, and funk.

I am looking to buy a pair of used speakers and want to spend $300 max. I don't need speakers that will blow the walls out (I live in a townhouse and have to think about the neighbors). Purity of sound is more important to me than sheer volume and power.

I don't know anything about speakers, how they relate to other components, or what specs to look for. Can anyone give me some guidance as to what I should be looking for in terms of specs when I buy a pair of used speakers for the receiver I have? Is there anything I should specifically avoid?

Thanks in advance for helping a novice out!
post #2 of 9
Speakers are the hardest piece of a system to recommend. Every speaker sounds different and what YOU like is impossible for anyone to know. Everyone hears differently and preferences vary greatly. What I recommend is going out and listening to as many brands as possible. Speaker companies usually have a "house" sound, and get better as the price goes up.

Things to look for are:
impedance (usually 6-8ohm, 4 ohm can be difficult for an AVR to drive).
Sensitivity over 90db (how loud a speaker plays at 1 meter with 1 watt of power) Frequency Response is the range the speaker can play. This can be a useless number as many companies full with the numbers.

If you find a speaker company you like their are a few sites to check out. Audiogon is great, but your budget might be hard to work with. I would try to find a brand and then adjust your budget accordingly. A few hundred more may net you a much better system for you.
post #3 of 9
If you are patient you can find plenty of decent used speakers for $200.00 or so. Here is what you want to look at(IMO of course). Check out the surrounds on the drivers for any deterioration. If there is any don't buy them. Also Very gently push in the woofers and feel for any roughness also listen for any scratchy sounds while doing this. Finally listen to them. Good speakers can last 30 years or more if well taken care of. Stay away from speakers made by companies like Pioneer, Sony, Yamaha... they make great electronics, speakers, not so much.
post #4 of 9
I'd avoid buying components that have moving parts or parts that can deteriorate faster than transistors. Unless I know the owner, I'd never buy a used speaker or CD player. This is also based on my experience having been burned too many times with used stuff over the net. You can still get something like a PSB Alpha B1 bookshelves or something with 6" woofer below $300.
post #5 of 9
Sounds like a pair of bookshelfs are in your future. Take a read of Audioholics bookshelf shootout. And here is a previous shootout.

remodeler gave some excellent tips on how to check out used speakers. You might also carry a 9v battery - put it up to the speaker terminals - the woofer should move in - or out depending on polarity with no more than an audible pop. 9v isn't going to hurt a healthy speaker.
post #6 of 9
+1 on PSB speakers
post #7 of 9
Thread Starter 
Thanks to everyone for their helpful replies.

Sorry, maybe I didn't explain how much of a novice I am.

Quote:
Originally Posted by remodeler View Post

Check out the surrounds on the drivers for any deterioration. If there is any don't buy them.

I understood the rest of what you said in your reply, but can you clarify what the drivers are on speakers and what the "surrounds" on them are?

Thanks.
post #8 of 9
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by mbyrnes View Post

Speakers are the hardest piece of a system to recommend. Every speaker sounds different and what YOU like is impossible for anyone to know. Everyone hears differently and preferences vary greatly. What I recommend is going out and listening to as many brands as possible. Speaker companies usually have a "house" sound, and get better as the price goes up.

Things to look for are:
impedance (usually 6-8ohm, 4 ohm can be difficult for an AVR to drive).
Sensitivity over 90db (how loud a speaker plays at 1 meter with 1 watt of power) Frequency Response is the range the speaker can play. This can be a useless number as many companies full with the numbers.

If you find a speaker company you like their are a few sites to check out. Audiogon is great, but your budget might be hard to work with. I would try to find a brand and then adjust your budget accordingly. A few hundred more may net you a much better system for you.

Thanks for the things to look for. Do I need to pay attention to the wattage reported in the specs for the speakers? What should the wattage of the speakers in relation to my AVR?

Unfortunately, adding a few hundred more to what I can pay doubles my tight budget, so I'll just have to be patient and go with the best my money will buy. I can always upgrade in a few years.

Thanks again.
post #9 of 9
Quote:
Originally Posted by peixegato1 View Post

Thanks to everyone for their helpful replies.

Sorry, maybe I didn't explain how much of a novice I am.



I understood the rest of what you said in your reply, but can you clarify what the drivers are on speakers and what the "surrounds" on them are?

Thanks.

Drivers are the subwoofers. I think he means check the foam or rubber that surrounds the speaker. its shouldnt be cracked or worn out.

Im with the other guy. Its hard to buy used speakers. Some people thump the heck out of there speakers and other people listen to them at a decent level. Ive been digging around the forum a bit and it seems like people also like the HSU research bookshelfs. They are 129 right now and have a 7 year warranty.
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